So, I’ve left a few dangling threads out there.

Sue me.

It’s been a little bit busy around here, what with work and play taking up every waking moment. (Awwww…poor me!)

Let me tie up a few of those loose ends.

1. The winter storm. Zero damage! (YAY!) What’s more, there is so much tree damage in town that the city is carting off tree limbs free of charge, so that pile I’ve had in the back yard for months will be gone this week, and it won’t cost me a cent. 

I think my desert willow survived, too, which is the best news of all. I’d have cried big girlie tears if I’d lost it. The only real pain in the you-know-what thing I have to do is cut back the pampas grass. It was beautiful before the ice, but now the huge fronds are all broken and bent. This year, I’ll be sure to get out the gloves before I start sticking my hands in that thing. (Have you ever had a hundred grass cuts from really big grass? Not fun!)

2. The guild meeting was a success, though I would have preferred more non-officer participation. Still, it looks like we are going to work on getting our member participation up in our raids, and if that doesn’t happen, we’ll move on to more serious measures. All in all, though, I think whatever steps we take will be for the better, and hopefully we can all stay together.  There’s a good chance of that anyway.

3. Though I haven’t mentioned this before, I’ve lost 16 pounds in the last month an a half. I guess that’s what a veggie addiction and a busy schedule will do for you. I feel better than I’ve felt in I don’t know when.  On top of it all, I’m more than content — I’m actually happy.

It’s been awhile, and I like it! :)


I‘m not really sure what to title this blog entry. In fact, it’s a little hard to write it; not because I don’t know what I want to say, but because I’m not sure how to say it.

A couple of months ago, I posted about leaving my old job and how hard it was to leave my friends there. A few weeks ago, I posted about how I’m not a very social person, and because of that, my friendships at work are very important to me. I also posted about my World of Warcraft addiction and how much fun it is to be a virtual bad-ass.

What I didn’t post was how important my gaming friends have become to me.  That may sound weird to anyone who doesn’t participate in a close-knit online community, but that little group of people are like family to me. I care about what happens to them, I look forward to being with them, they bouy me when I’m down and fight along side me, laugh with me, cry with me, celebrate hard won goals with me.

Through that game, I’ve met some very special people who have taught me a great deal about commitment, drive and determination. Sounds strange when you consider I’m talking about a game; doesn’t it? But it’s true. When a group of people work together for weeks and even months on end to achieve a difficult goal that requires consentration and teamwork, it takes those qualities to succeed. Our leader and some of the other officers in our guild who have served in the armed forces and have been to war liken the teamwork and effort it takes to succeed in game to that on the battlefield. Of course the dangers aren’t real, and the lives at stake are only virtual, but the teamwork, method and consentration required are the same.

It’s no wonder that the camaraderie is so strong. To listen to it as an outsider, you might agree that when we are “in battle,” the chatter sounds much like it might sound on a real battlefield, as officers are sending directions and warnings to the troups. It’s intense! It’s stressful! It’s hard work! The respect I hold for our leaders is as strong or stronger than the respect I feel for just about anyone else in my life.

So when we’re not in the middle of that, the times we share together are filled with laughter and fun. We let go with each other in ways many of us never do in our real lives. We share personal information we hold inside otherwise. We call each other and have long conversations about our lives, our ambitions and what really matters.

With all that in mind, it’s no wonder that any threat to our little family causes more than a little anxiety.  I’ve never been one to handle disequalibrium very well — I’m a both feet on the ground kind of gal — so I hate waiting and wondering for any shoe to drop, particularly when we’re talking about my favorite pair.

Today, I’m holding my breath, because something big is up. 

Our core group is strong, but the less committed people have caused us to falter at our goals, and it’s frustrating, particularly to our members who are all about progression. The holiday season has made the situation even worse, so things are quickly coming to a head. Decisions that affect us all are being made, and not everyone is going to be happy with the results. Some may leave us and move on to other groups. Some may not be able to make the changes required.

It makes me sad and worried, and I’m supposed to wait until 9pm tomorrow night to find out what’s going to happen.  I may go nuts before then, or at the very least, drive those around me nuts.  I really hate it.

I want things to stay the same, but nothing ever does; does it? (That’s a rhetorical quesiton; I know the answer.)

I just hope that whatever happens, the people I really care about stick it out with us.  I want to progress, too, but for me it’s the family that’s important. It’s the people. It’s people I couldn’t begin to name, lest this become pages long.  People with real names and real lives that I care about.

Below is a little video of what it’s like in our “battles.”  This isn’t our group, but it’s the same no matter what group is doing it.  I’m not sure you can get the real jist of it from watching this, but maybe you can get an idea.

When the Internet was new, users developed a language of their own — a shorthand that was both descriptive and exclusionary. Internet geeks understood it completely, while outsiders were left scratching their heads. Internet slang has evolved and changed throughout the years, with those changes sometimes bordering on the ridiculous, but the basis has remained the same. The shorthand is quicker than typing out entire sentences and can be equally exclusionary, though that is slowly changing.

Internet speak is divided into two types — emoticons, text based “pictures” that represented an emotion, and acronyms that represented longer phrases. Some of this slang has made it into our speech, so much so that almost anyone can understand it, while others remain more contained to the Internet community.

In the early days of the Internet, as Internet jargon was evolving, it was interesting to watch new slang take hold. Since we were Americans speaking mostly to Americans in those days, it was easy for us to catch the meaning, so adoption of the shorthand was fairly quick. Today, it’s often not so easy. With the introduction of other cultures (including Asian Internet culture that has a well developed Internet language of its own) into our Internet society, we have witnessed a shift in geek speak. MMOs have also caused a shift; since they allow users to “emote” using commands, many of the old jargon has been replaced with command-based jargon.

Here are some examples of some of the differences between the old and the new:

Old: LOL — New: lawl or lawlzor (LOL stands, as most people know, for “laughing out loud,” but what in the world is “lawl” and “lawlzor”? Sound out LOL, and you’ve got your answer for the former; the latter is just the same with the random “zor” added to the end, which was something added by gamers.)

Old: {{{{Maggy}}}} — New: /hug Maggy (Both of these represent a hug, but in the old days, the brackets surrounding a name were like a virtual hug, surrounding your name as arms would surround your body. The new version is command-based, used in text conversation to represent the command that would emote the action to you.)

Old: Newbie — New: nub, nube, or n00b (All represent someone who’s new and inexperienced, but the new version is a shorthand of a shorthand that evolved from the sound of the original shorthand. Now, though, most people pronounce it as you would the “nub” of a pencil, which sounds nothing like the original form.)

Old: ;D, o;>, };> ;P, etc. — New: ^^, QQ, >.<, TT, etc. (All of these emoticons represent emotions, but many of the versions are adoptions from Japanese Internet culture. QQ and TT both mean the person is crying -- if you look, you can see that both represent tears falling from one's eyes -- and these came directly from gaming communties. QQ represents someone who's whining, and players often see comments such as "Stop QQing" and "Less QQ and more pew pew," with "pew pew" representing the sound a vitual gun would make. In other words, stop whining and just play." While QQ is used to insult someone, TT is what someone types when they're sad, so has no connection to ridicule.)

Some of the new jargon has actually come from common keyboarding errors. For example, “pwned” is Internet slang for “owned,” as in “I just owned you,” which means “I just beat you soundly.” Others are new shorthands like “leet,” which means “elite,” “ftw,” which means “for the win,” and “l2p” which means “learn to play.” ZOMG has replaced OMG (oh my god) — this change is directly related to the “zor” phenominon. If you sounded it out, this would say, “Zoh my godzor.”

Yes, really.

Geek speak, while constantly evolving, has become so much a part of our every day lexicon that many of us find ourselves using them in our rl (real life). I’ll never forget the time I was teaching a computer aided composition class at the University of Oklahoma in 1991, when someone in class said something very funny, and, instead of laughing, I said, “LOL.” My assistant rolled his eyes at me and called me a geek as he walked out the door to tell anyone and everyone he knew about what I had just done. Now, that wouldn’t be so unusual.

Internet speak permeates our lives so much that it was even used in the opening episode of last year’s South Park, which won an Emmy. Eric Cartman’s famous line, “Looks like someone’s about to get pwned” has been repeated countless times since the show first aired. Text messaging on cell phones and BlackBerries has increased the number of people who use and understand the “language.”

In short, it’s everywhere.

Because of the evolution of Internet slang, my Masters thesis, titled “The Rhetoric of Online Communication” is sadly outdated today. Internet lexicon changes so quickly that any documentation of it would have to evolve with equal speed in order to keep up. I can’t imagine how different it will be ten years from now.

So if you want a big kick, sign on to World of Warcraft and fly to The Barrens to watch some Barrens chat. You’ll laugh so hard at the craziness there that you’ll type “rotflmaopimpwtime” and mean it!

Before I go, here’s a funny book jacket. For these folks (obviously NOT Internet geeks), the title meant something completely different than what it means to the Internet savvy. For those of us who see omfg all the time, this is a hoot. If the authors had any idea, they’d be mortified!

Call me a complete geek, but I love gaming. It challenges the mind while allowing the freedom of knowing that what accomplishments or failings I may have in the game make no difference to me in real life.One of the best things about it is that it transforms me. In real life, I’m a writer and editor, loved by those who understand I’m only working to make them look smarter and hated by those who are offended that I’ve changed what they’ve written. I’m considered by many to be a studious person, full of fun but also very serious (and more than a little anal retentive) about my work and work ethic.

In Netherstorm or Terroker Forrest, though, I’m a bad-ass. I can destroy monsters who are working equally hard to destroy me while I heal myself to full health. I can leap from tall cliffs as a cat, run fast and hard as a cheetah, fight with the strength of a bear and when I know I can’t win, I can fly like the wind. In my virtual world, I can be attacked by an opposing faction and come out the victor. And when I’ve won, I can climb upon my epic mount and cross the world faster than almost everyone in the game.

In real life, the only time the bad-ass in me comes out is when I work and when I feel the need to protect my son. Other than that, I’m pretty mild mannered. So I don’t mind telling you - I like being able to be a tough gal in the virtual world.

Being a bad-ass can be fun, but even in the virtual world, bad-asses can be girls with a sweet side. ;>